Regardless of the industry, businesses thrive on good customer service. However, when you’re dealing with high profile clients like government agencies, it’s exponentially more important to satisfy their demands and do everything possible to build healthy, long-term business relationships.
Top Customer Service Do’s
While there are entire books, whitepapers, and websites dedicated to the topic of dealing with and finding government clients, there are ultimately three customer service tips you need to keep in mind before handling the rest.
Understand their goals. Regardless of aim or mission, every department and government agency has its own unique, strategic goals. According to a brand representative of Simon Flashlights, a company that provides lighting tools for police and law enforcement agencies, “Our number one goal is to find out what our clients are looking for so that we can efficiently satisfy their needs and appropriately deal with their pain points. It’s not always easy, but it always pays off down the road.” Helping a client meet their goal is the best customer service accomplishment there is.
Establish a direct contact person. While government agencies and departments can be big, that doesn’t mean they don’t want personalized attention. One of the best ways to provide that attentiveness is to establish a direct contact person for every government client you have. This has two major benefits: First, it improves communication by ensuring your client knows who to contact when questions or issues arise. Second, it personifies your business by putting a name, face, and voice to the products or services you’re offering.
Partner with a government mentor. For small businesses in particular, it’s important to understand that the government wants to work with you. In fact, they have an entire program designed to encourage experienced contractors to mentor other businesses interested in government contracts. In addition to showing you how to procure these contracts, these mentors can help you understand the various ins and outs of customer service as it relates to government contracts.
Top Customer Service Don’ts
In addition to these three things you should do, there are also three customer service mistakes you’ll want to avoid when dealing with government clients.
Don’t be intimidated. As every business that’s ever worked with a large government client can tell you – it’s scary at times. However, you can’t be intimidated or scared of messing up. Government agencies can sniff out fear and will move on to the next contractor if they feel you aren’t up to the job. Whenever you deal with a client, speak with confidence and stand by your products and services.
Don’t treat them like other clients. While you don’t want to blow things out of proportion or change the way you do business, you also can’t afford to treat government agencies like other clients. You should cater to their needs and handle their questions and complaints with care. Never put a government client on the backburner and aim for quick resolves and first-class service.
Don’t establish a short-term view. When dealing with a government client, everything should be viewed as long-term. While a new government contract may require hours of additional work in the beginning, it will most likely pay off in the long run. Looking at things from a short-term perspective will make you want to back out, while a patient approach will yield profitable results.
While it’s easy to become intimidated by large government clients and contracts, it’s pertinent that you stay focused and commit to good customer service. By understanding their goals, satisfying their demands, and displaying confidence, you can reap lucrative rewards for years to come.